The stimulus checks or electronic deposits are starting to come in. This windfall creates a question we all wish we would have more frequently: What do I spend this on? It’s a welcomed question, but it should be given serious consideration. Here are three stimulus spending guidelines I encourage you to think about.
Most importantly, avoid spending it on something frivolous or selfish that you don’t really need. Some new tech toy or extravagant piece of jewelry that you haven’t even considered before won’t be very helpful if the pandemic and economy don’t recover as soon as predicted. You may find yourself short of money later. If you don’t have a reasonable source of emergency funds, better keep your stimulus money untouched and handy for a while. If you are comfortable with your emergency fund, spend the stimulus on something you need, but just haven’t been able to afford. Paying down any credit card debt would save a lot of money, too.
There is also an ethical and patriotic aspect to the stimulus cash. By its definition, you are getting it to “stimulate” the economy. Therefore, it comes with an implied obligation to return it back to the economy. It is meant to boost the bottom lines of retailers, manufacturers, and institutions that put Americans back to work. So, using the money for investment or long-term savings violates its purpose and is simply not good citizenship. It is meant to be spent in the short term. Even spending it on something you’ve already budgeted for is actually saving it, since the budgeted money will be saved.
Finally, consider this as an opportunity for benevolent giving. We all wish at times we could help others in need but just don’t see how we can afford it. Well, now you have some money you didn’t anticipate. So, what better time to be a Good Samaritan to a person or organization that needs it more than you do? I believe we should always follow the Bible’s instruction to tithe, or give 10% of our income, to the Lord’s ministry through His church. That is a given for my family and me. But I plan to give an additional 10% of this stimulus money to someone or some group worthy and in need. I encourage you to do the same.
It would be presuming of me to tell you how to spend your money, but I am just offering some food for thought. Before you spend that check or deposit, ask yourself whether you, others, and the nation’s economy will benefit by your plan for spending it. Remember, it is not meant for your pleasure, but for you to use as a tool for the good of all Americans. What will you do with your stimulus cash?